Luigi's Coal Fire Pizza Opens On Las Olas Boulevard

A couple months behind an anticipated March opening, Luigi's Coal Fire Pizza opened its doors for service Tuesday, May 17.

Locals seemed eager to try Napolitan chef Luigi DiMeo's (previously of Rino's Tuscan Grill) fare at the new neighborhood pizzeria. By 8 p.m. Tuesday night, a line of hungry customers snaked out the door.

Despite a crowded parking lot (it's free!), the sounds of Disco Inferno blaring outside was the second sign that the restaurant was open was. A clear announcement that Luigi's is ready for business.

The new eatery features selections such as antipasto, coal fire chicken wings, VPN (an organization with guidelines of what constitutes an authentic Neapolitan pizza) style pizzas , panini and traditional desserts.  This is a menu which seems to promise a rival to the likes of Anthony's Coal Fired Pizza chain.

One thing missing on opening day? Vino.

Luigi's offers an extensive wine list featuring several inexpensive varietals such as a $7 Sicilian Merlot to a specialty selection of bottles costing upwards of several hundred dollars. Unfortunately, the new eatery was unable to sell any alcohol yesterday, but employees say they hope to have this issue resolved before the weekend.

Per our servers suggestion, we tried the hearty portion of fried calamari ($6.95) tossed with Luigi's tomato sauce. The squid's breading lost some of its crispiness as a result of a lathering of sauce, yet the flavor was spicy and the squid was fresh and tender.

Wanting to try some of the specialty pizza prepared in accordance to strict VPN code, we opted for the brushetta pizza -- a mixture of chopped tomato, fresh basil, garlic and oregano topped with leafy arugula and shaved parmesan (12" $11.95; 16" $15.95). The dough was baked crisp and the toppings were light and fresh. It was so light in fact, that I found myself lusting over our the neighboring table's cheesier pie generously adorned with Italian sausage and pepperoni. Next time.

Passing up cheesecake and tiramisu for dessert, we chose crunch into a cannoli. It arrived with a crisp-fried pastry shell filled with sweet ricotta and chocolate chips and a generous dusting of sugar.

Despite the first night of operation which can typically bring numerous operational snafus, Luigi's had an energetic vibe paired with attentive service. Is Luigi's just another pizza joint? Judging by the droves of customers flocking to try the tasty coal oven pizza, this new Las Olas eatery is prepared to feed and please the masses. Well, minus the booze.

Follow Clean Plate Charlie on Facebook and on Twitter: @CleanPlateBPB.

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